A photo of Above GRND Coffee's interior. It has a white countertop, with several coffee machines to the left and cups placed in the center. A register can be see on the right side of the counter. A staff member can be seen behind the counter. Their white walls are decorated with several images, and two hanging lamps with ivory spherical shades are above the counter.

The coffee bar at Above GRND. Photo by Quincy Higuera

By Quincy Higuera

Staff Writer

 

Above Grnd Coffee is Downtown Portland’s newest and coolest coffee shop. This Somali-Muslim owned business offers a wide range of Somali and American favorites, located right inside of Bridge City Soles, a popular sneaker store in Downtown Portland.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the free parking between Bridge City Soles and a neighboring dispensary. Hands down, it’s the least stressful parking situation in all of downtown, which I was grateful for. I comfortably parked my car and started my coffee journey. 

I spent most of my life despising coffee, but we’ll get into that later. I want to touch on the comforting aura of Above Grnd. I walked up the stairs and was immediately met with welcoming energy, a cozy light brown and earthy green color scheme and the smell of – you guessed it – fresh coffee. The walls are lined with clean shoes and green plants to compliment the aura of the place. 

Above Grnd has comfortable seating, good music, and good vibes, making this the perfect place for coffee lovers, creatives and anybody to lounge and work.

Now, to the coffee. I’ve always disliked the way coffee tastes and the way it makes me feel. I drew coffee off, assuming I’d be a hardcore tea drinker for life. A few days before I discovered Above Grnd I was starting to be more curious about coffee and its endless variations. I finally decided to take initiative and indulge myself in the coffee world.

Above Grnd offers many flavor profiles in a wide range of drinks such as the banana milk latte, date elixir latte, a classic Somali chai, and more. The best way to describe the menu is simply sophisticated. You can enjoy a cup of matcha, a cup of chai, or you can enjoy it together in their Mat-Chai fusion latte. 

That’s just a small list of their options. As I’m sure you can imagine, I was torn on my decision. I ordered a drink I haven’t mentioned yet: the MVP – Above Grnd’s version of a Spanish latte. A friend recommended I order it iced, with oat milk – so that’s what I did. 

Man, the MVP lived up to its name. As someone who has always had a strong dislike for coffee, this drink changed it all for me. It was the perfect combination – smooth, strong and milky, with a subtle sweet spice from the cinnamon on top. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this drink. 

Another thing that caught my attention was the dessert options: tres leches, strawberry, oreo, and chai. I was excited to see the inclusion of other cultures into Above Grnd’s vision – I ordered the chai tres leches. All I have to say about that is wow. I’ve had my fair share of tres leches but this was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was dense, but light. The spice of the chai in the milk mixture, the texture, and the frosting was simply amazing. They also have an alternating variety of cookies. They’ve had chocolate toffee, ube, red velvet, matcha and chocolate chip. The dessert menu alternates so I’m excited to see what more the minds at Above Grnd have to offer. 

I enjoyed my experience at Above Grnd and have personally become a regular. I encourage everyone reading this to give Above Grnd a chance and to try one of the many unique menu items they have. I can confidently say you won’t be disappointed. Even if you don’t like coffee, who knows, this could be the place to change your mind. That was the case with me.

Above Grnd Coffee

419 NW Broadway Floor 2

Portland, OR 97209

9 a.m. – 11 p.m. Seven days a week.

 

Quincy Higuera

Quincy Higuera is a writer from Portland, Oregon. Currently studying Digital Media Communications at Clackamas Community College. Writing has always been a passion, especially when he's writing about his other passions such as music, food, Indigenous culture and more.

Archives